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Gambling in France

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France is a country in Western Europe where gambling is legal. France has 175 cities with a total of 189 licensed gaming facilities. Of those there are 172 casinos, of which 52 are owned by Partouche and 43 are owned by Lucian Barriere making them both France’s largest casino operators. The only legal form of gambling available in France are casinos and slot machines.

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We will give you an overview of all Listed Casinos in France and an insight of the gaming rules in France, the country where roulette was started. The word roulette itself is French, meaning “little wheel.” Several early versions of roulette appeared in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is believed that the noted French scientist and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, invented the mechanism in 1657 while experimenting with perpetual motion devices. Pascal, incidentally, pioneered the mathematical field of “probability.”

The majority of casinos in France can be found in Paris which has 8 casinos and 16 slot machines.

The largest casino is Casino de Divonnes les Bains which is located in the French city of Divonne-les-Bains. This casino has 14 table games and 355 casino slot machines and video poker games.

The casinos role in the town

Traditionally in France, casinos can only be built in a seaside, thermal or health resort. Not including several large towns that received permission to have a casino in 1988, in the majority of cases, casinos tend to be in small towns where they are a permanent attraction throughout the year, seven days a week, hosting additional seasonal or summer events.

A casino is expected to host a wide variety of theatrical, musical, dance, magical and sporting events for all tastes, all budgets and all ages. A real centre of attraction and escape on your doorstep. The casino is a real hub of town life providing entertainment and hosting new shows. Who needs to be in the city?

Supporting local initiatives and local cultural and sporting associations, the casino is a meeting place for residents and also attracts people from further afield. The Groupe Lucien Barriere sponsors the International Film Festival in Cannes, the American Film Festival in Deauville and the Francofolies French pop music festival in La Rochelle, amongst others.

Casinos make a significant contribution to their town through national and local taxes. They also help finance cultural activities in the town and invest in improvements to games establishments, restaurants and the organisation of shows. The casinos contribute to economic development in the community.

Casinos employ 12,600 people in France, with about half that number working in the games sector and half in other sectors such as catering, administration, entertainment and security. Most of these employees have permanent contracts with the majority of the positions in regions where it is difficult to find work. The casinos therefore boost local communities. For example, the Casino Barriere de Deauville is the top employer in the town, with 800 employees (including restaurants and hotels).In France, any gambling not authorised by the government is forbidden.

History of the Penal Code and gambling

The law of June 15, 1907, defines dispensations to this interdiction and criteria for opening a casino, methods and operating procedures.

The law of March 31, 1931 authorises thermal resorts located within 10km of Paris (Enghien-les-Bains) to open a casino on the condition that the casino will have no Boule tables.

The decree of December 22, 1959 and the order of December 23, 1959 define regulations for casino games.

The law of July 12, 1983 cracks down on games of chance and bans automatic gambling machines (including slot machines) in France.

The law of May 5, 1987, by dispensation to the previous text, authorises slot machines in casinos only.

The law of January 5, 1988 called the “Chaban amendment”, authorises the opening of casinos, following the agreement of the Minister of the Interior, “in tourist resorts and towns that are the main town in a region, with more than 500,000 inhabitants, contributing over 40% to the national theatre, the national orchestra or an operatic theatre which host regular seasonal activities with at least twenty musical shows, possibly in conjunction with other regional bodies”.

The law of January 29, 1993, called the “Sapin law”, relates to the prevention of corruption and openness of economic life and public procedures.

The law of July 2, 1998 (DDOEF) authorises the practice of Boule and other similar games at the Enghien-les-Bains casino, amending the law of March 31, 1931.

Casinos de France - Ethical charter

In defence of professional interest

To try to solve the problems linked with compulsive players and the sinful reputation that still haunts them, casinos that belong to the “Casinos de France” syndicate have united, enforcing a stringent code of ethics.The “Casinos de France” ethical committee has drawn up a Code of Ethics. This code is widely distributed to casinos, and in particular the Barriere casinos, and to casino visitors.

The code shows the commitment of syndicate members (92 out of 163 casinos in France) to practise their activity not only within the regulatory guidelines in effect but also by following a certain ethic to uphold the reputation of the profession and to defend the legitimate interests of clients. “Casinos de France” intends to live up to its reputation as a professional body defending its material interests.

The 10 Code of Ethics rules

  1. Preserve the identity of the casino by providing high quality shows, restaurants and games. Casinos should not be solely dedicated to slot machines.

  2. Promote the development of the profession by inventing and creating new games.

  3. Guarantee the integrity of games by preserving the integrity of players’ chances and supplying them with any information requested.

  4. Protect the players themselves by forbidding advertising that targets minors, by making sure that players make their own decision to play and by helping compulsive players to combat their addiction.

  5. Preserve the anonymity of players, by respecting the requirements of the CNIL (French data protection watchdog) and by promoting the confidentiality of games and the anonymity of casino clients.

  6. Ensure the safety of clients and personnel by implementing any necessary security measures, working closely alongside the police and gendarmerie.

  7. Ensure the transparency of financial transactions by identifying clients carrying transactions of 1500 euros or more.

  8. Train personnel in security and safety procedures.

  9. Take part in community development by helping to promote tourism and by offering quality services.

  10. Sanction any non-adherence to the Code which may lead to the possible exclusion of a member from the syndicate.

By applying the code of ethics, members of the “Casinos de France” can today be proud of welcoming visitors to a friendly and free environment. Clients can come to eat or feel free to relax at their leisure. A casino atmosphere is fun, sociable and cultural, and is a major attraction for a town and its region, enhancing its reputation.

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